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Serco Optimistic about Growth prospects for 2022

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Business at the truck body and trailer-building company Serco has improved this year compared with 2020 but is still below that achieved in 2019.

This is according to Serco CEO Clinton Holcroft who said it had been a tremendously challenging time with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to impact a variety of industries and the South African economy.

“The company used the crisis to focus on driving cost reductions and streamlining processes to improve service levels while broadening the product range to create growth,” said Holcroft.

Serco is one of South Africa’s leading insulated and dry freight truck body and trailer manufacturing companies with branches in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gqeberha.

Holcroft, who estimates that the company had built more than 20 000 vehicles in its 40-year history, said although the improvement in revenue this year had been encouraging, sales were down 30% on 2019. “To counter the reduction in sales, we broadened our product range to include more dry freight vehicle bodies and have seen good growth in this sector. We have also increased our fleet of rental refrigerated semi-trailers by 10 vehicles.”

He said a lot of potential customers had delayed orders due to lack of availability of truck chassis caused by global supply chain shortages.

“A highlight of this year has been the development of a new design refrigerated interlink trailer offering improved volume and ease of use as well as design changes to our flagship ’Frostliner’ refrigerated bodies to increase payload and enhance the finish of the panels while raising sustainability standards further.

“The new innovations will offer tangible features which I believe, will encourage customers to upgrade to the new technology”.

There had been a significant reduction, he said, in trailer replacements but hopefully as Covid levels continuing to drop and the economy starts to open again, that we will see an upswing, similar to trends overseas.

With sustainability and cutting carbon emissions being a global priority, Serco would continue its drive to responsible manufacturing practices and minimise our impact on the environment.  In 2019 Serco installed 1029 solar panels on the roof of its Durban factory which allows the premises to go off the grid during the day. The solar power 400kw peak system has the potential to save the company 75% of its electricity costs, equating to a saving of about 900 tons of CO2 a year.

Other greening initiatives include the recycling of paper and plastic it uses as well as a rainwater harvesting system for washing vehicles.

Turning to the South African economy Holcroft said he hoped there would be further structural reforms to encourage growth and employment. Considering the dire need to reduce unemployment, possibly a Ministerial Advisory Committee similar to that used so effectively during Covid, could be set up to focus on economic growth for South Africa.

“Serco’s aim for next year is to see a return to our pre Covid performance and to build on the positive initiatives we have put in place to generate growth and further value for our customers in the transport and logistics sectors”.

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Precision delivery key to Unitrans Africa’s mining-sector success

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Unitrans Africa’s (UA) proven mining-sector material handling capability is laying the foundation for a bright future characterised by unique innovation in critical areas of the company’s operations.

Electric vehicles and real-time stockpile management and reporting are but two examples of Unitrans Africa’s bold, long-term vision. But none of these ideas would have even made it to the drawing board had it not been for the company’s trusted reputation when it comes to on-mine material handling and mine-to-port capabilities – painstakingly built across the continent over many decades.

“Unitrans Africa is truly demonstrating our purpose of Accelerating Africa’s Growth with the current mining projects and partnerships we currently have in place,” says Unitrans CEO, Rob Hayworth, who believes that the company now has the springboard to recreate, throughout Africa, the success of current operations, which are accredited according to the highest available safety standards, including the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Occupational Health, Safety and Security (OHSAS), Safety and Quality Assessment System (SQAS) and Road Transport Management System (RTMS).

“Our solutions have a positive impact on the regions we operate in and with the partners we are involved with, especially when it comes to utilising local labour and reducing the total project emissions via the use of road trains,” he adds.

Road trains have the unique ability to each handle up to 140 tons of payload, while at the same time increasing safety standards and decreasing environmental impact. The latter is achieved through reduced emissions on a net project basis due to a reduction in the required fleet size.

It’s for these reasons that road trains occupy pole position in Unitrans Africa’s bold take on the future – one that is possible thanks to the company’s proven end-to-end capabilities. “Our ‘mine-to-port’ capability is a major strength and this is where our immediate focus has been” says Hayworth. “We’ve been able to set a stake in the ground and are now looking to build on these strengths, as the largest operator of road trains in Africa.”

“We are in the final stages of research into a number of innovative offerings including electric mining vehicles, which will be revealed soon,” he adds.

Unitrans Africa’s extensive footprint in sub-Saharan Africa includes countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Tanzania and Madagascar. This presence already makes the company one of the largest material handling, distribution and logistics operations on the continent, which Hayworth ascribes to an unwavering focus on precision delivery.

“Our exacting standards, high quality, performance track records and continuous improvement all translate into a gold standard when it comes to service delivery,” he says. “When it comes to mining, this is reflected in Unitrans’s custom designed vehicles and engineered equipment, handling of dangerous goods, superb delivery, and cost efficiency, amongst other things.”

As an example of this precision delivery accelerating Africa’s growth, Hayworth points to the successful kickstarting of their Botswanan copper operations, which have demonstrated positive economic and environmental effects. Job growth has increased locally, GDP has grown across the SADC region as a whole, and copper has contributed to a reduction in carbon emissions due to its use in electric vehicles.

“We now have proven copper handling capabilities, which we can use as a launchpad into similar operations in the likes of DRC, Zambia and Namibia in the future,” says Hayworth.

A future which, if Unitrans Africa’s track record is anything to go by, looks bright indeed.

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IAG Cargo reports strong Q3 as capacity rebounds across its global network

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Friday 5 November, 2021, Today, IAG Cargo reports strong Q3 revenues of €405 million for the period from July 1 to September 30 2021, as activity accelerates back to 2019 levels, with the business aided by growing capacity and the breadth of its network.

The Q3 2021 revenues represent an increase of 34.4 percent at constant currency versus the same period last year. Overall yield for Q3 was down 2.0 per cent at constant currency versus 2020. Sold tonnes were up 42.6 per cent. The results come on top of IAG Cargo’s half year revenue of €769m, delivering total revenue to date of €1,174 million in 2021; up 28.0 percent on the same time last year.

The quarter’s success has been achieved through a sustained resurgence in the volume of flights offered by IAG Cargo. Overall, IAG Cargo has seen a 24 per cent increase in capacity on the previous quarter and a 62.2 per cent increase compared to Q3 last year. The increased activity reflects growing levels of global trade, as many economies experience recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. New routes during the quarter included Nairobi, Istanbul, Male, Chennai, Vienna, Denver and Phoenix whilst many other lanes saw increased frequencies.

During the quarter, IAG Cargo’s ability to provide a fast, efficient and global service, connecting East to West, has been in high demand. IAG Cargo’s hubs in Heathrow, Madrid and Dublin have been pivotal, with a significant increase in interline activity.  IAG Cargo also increasingly saw conversions from sea freight as shippers turned to air freight to minimise the impact of the well-publicised supply chain disruption. 

Commenting on the quarter, IAG Cargo Managing Director David Shepherd said: “This quarter we have seen momentum build as IAG Cargo, and the global economy, begins to take increasingly confident steps towards a more buoyant future, as recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to gain ground. The team’s resilience and commitment to put our customers first continues, and we are excited to enter into a new and ambitious phase of activity.”  

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New CIPS Southern Africa General Manager focusses on more educational opportunities for all as she takes on new challenges for the procurement and supply profession

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Pretoria, 2 December 2021  – The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) has appointed Dr Sara Bux as General Manager of Southern Africa. This is a critical appointment as the procurement profession continues to grow in the region and more individuals and organisations are seeking training and qualifications in procurement and supply.

Dr Bux, who most recently served as Director —Southern Africa at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants has over 30 years’ experience in the education sector.

Dr Bux possesses a high level of understanding of the regulatory education environment and networks across Southern Africa, with board-level experience. She has a passion for educational transformation, particularly within Southern Africa and support for the procurement and supply profession. Her qualifications include a Master of Arts (MA) in South African Literature, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Management Entrepreneurship.

Group Chief Executive Officer of CIPS, Malcolm Harrison commented, “I am delighted Sara is joining the CIPS team with her background in education, her high level of understanding of the regulatory frameworks and her strong networks in Southern Africa; she will be a real asset.

“Her energy and enthusiasm will build on the ongoing success of CIPS and I’m looking forward to working with her to create more opportunities for members and aspiring professionals to develop their skills and qualifications allowing them to create the resilient supply chains of the future.”Dr Sara Bux said of her appointment: “I am a firm believer in dignity, equality, freedom, diversity and inclusion for all, and I hope to bring these qualities into my role for CIPS.“I have a strong passion for education and especially, access to the right kind of education that will enable individuals to constructively participate in and contribute to the local and global economy and to society as a whole.”

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